Vusi Mfupi

Sponsor this artist

It is when I was at Primary level that I first realized that I had talent for art, but never thought that one day I would become an artist.

In 1997, I began an intimate relationship with art and nature – and the relationship is intimate indeed. At that time, I had never attended any formal art classes. I was fortunate however, to be one of four artists who had been commissioned to design the Civic Theatre in Eldorado Park, when South Africa was hosting the World Health Organization for the first time.

In 1998, I attended Funda Community College to enroll as a full-time Fine Arts student. After studying full-time for three years, I attained a Diploma in Fine Arts in 2000. In the very same year, I studied a Teachers course in Art methodologies, and attained a Certificate for Teaching Art.

During the past six years, I have participated in-group exhibitions, gaining art experience, talent and creativity. I exhibited with various artists within Gauteng Province. The exhibitions were held at the Ipelegeng Community Centre, and at the Rand Afrikaans University - Grencor Gallery, the exhibition was titled “Master Art” with works by gauteng art teachers, and also the end of year exhibition with works by funda students.

In (2002), my work was taking part in Panafrric Art 2001, toured Europe for 2001 and 2002. The first exhibition was in Paris in February, and then in an as yet unspecified order. There were exhibitions in seven major European cities, including The Hague, Brussels, Copenhagen and Berlin. As the word spreads, Marie Pierre has said that she is sure there will be further European cities asking for the exhibition as well.

As a student, I won a number of art competitions including one this year. In 1999, I won first prize in the King Korn “Part of your Life” competition. At the same competition in 2000, I was a fourth prizewinner. On the same year I took part in the South African Young Art Historian Competition in which I won second prize. In 2003 I won the first prize in the Shell Helix Super Competition. This year I won 3rd prize at the black like us 3 exhibitions.

During my third and final year at Funda, I worked on a theme about “High School Pupils”. I looked at their behavior, and captured the day-to-day scenes in an outside the school premises. What worries me is seeing school pupils using drugs, marijuana and even drinking alcohol during school hours when they are supposed to be inside the classrooms. It hurts so badly to see the young generation of tomorrow digging their own graves, and sinking into the pits of destruction. Education in South Africa is demanding, and therefore school children will remain in demand for the future of our country.

I created, and am still creating these pieces, to make society aware, and to educate them on the importance of education in South Africa. The materials that I use are burned newspapers, thatching grass, magazines and general objects, which I came across. I also work in three dimension using sound and installations.

I am both thankful and grateful to have trained under the professional guidance of well known figures and artists of the caliber of Sokhaya Charles Nkosi and Mbongeni R Buthelezi to name but a few. The surrounding inspires me, and the environment I am living on. Nature is art and we have to make use of our talents.

In South Africa, you have to be brave to take up art on full time basis. Many people do not realize that art is an international language. What is important now is that we focus and put all our energy into the preparation. The doors are now opening for South African artists, and we have to prove that we are professional. We cannot rely on our Apartheid past anymore. We have to grab the opportunity while it is here; otherwise it is going to be too late.

Since from 2001, I have been very involved in an initiative to develop an arts and cultural life amongst children in Soweto and in Pretoria. We managed to facilitate workshops (As Arts Eyethu) in fourteen schools and two churches around Gauteng.